County Antrim Director accepts disqualification
The Department of the Economy (the Department) accepted an exclusion undertaking from an electricity company executive.
Commitment to disqualify directors
The appointment was received for seven years from Richard McDowell (61) of Elsmere Manor, Belfast due to his conduct as a director of Konnect M & E Ltd.
The Company operated an electricity subcontracting business, trading from Heron Road, Belfast. The Company entered into liquidation on 5 October 2018 with an estimated deficit as regards creditors of Â£ 384,136.16 and a total of Â£ 100 was due as share capital resulting in an estimated deficit as regards members from Â£ 384,236.16.
The Department accepted Richard McDowell’s Undertaking to Disqualify on November 3, 2021 based on the following improper conduct which was not contested for the sole purpose of the disqualification process:
- Failure to fully cooperate with the former liquidator as office holder and fail to maintain and / or keep and / or hand over the accounting records. In addition, the complete non-recognition of the company’s assets;
- To provoke and allow the company to apply a policy of discrimination against the Crown. From 2016/17 to the date of liquidation, causing and allowing Konnect M & E Ltd to retain sums totaling Â£ 253,759.25 (excluding penalties and interest), representing 66% of the estimated overall deficit of the company with respect to PAYE, NIC, CIS and VAT which were validly payable to the Crown;
- Breach of its fiduciary duty to act in good faith in the interest of the company and its creditors and / or cause and allow the misappropriation of company funds.
The Department accepted twenty-four exclusion commitments during the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2021.
Notes to Editors:
- Insolvency practitioners acting as voluntary liquidators, administrative trustees and administrators have a duty to report unsuitable conduct to the Insolvency Service of the Department of the Economy.
- The Department’s objective is to initiate disqualification proceedings against executives of bankrupt companies who have abused the privilege of limited liability status through negligence, incompetence or lack of commercial probity. The legislation contained in the Disqualification of Company Directors (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 (“the Order 2002”) is intended for the protection of the public and the business community, but its application should not interfere with a real business.
- In cases where a person is the subject of an exclusion order issued by the court or an exclusion agreement accepted by the ministry, that person should not be a director of a company, act as sequestration of the assets of a company or in any way whatsoever, whether directly or indirectly, deal with or participate in the promotion, constitution or management of a company unless authorized by the Tribunal de Grande Instance. A disqualified person cannot be granted permission to act as an insolvency practitioner.
- Article 9 of the 2002 ordinance provides that when a director is declared unfit, he must be recused for a minimum period of two years and a maximum of fifteen years. The courts have ruled that the level of severity of unworthy behavior can be divided into three brackets, with the upper bracket of periods exceeding ten years reserved for particularly serious cases, six to ten years reserved for cases not deserving of the upper bracket. and two to five years for cases where, although the exclusion is mandatory, the case is less serious.
- The 2002 ordinance also allows administrators, with the approval of the ministry, to avoid the need for a court hearing by proposing an acceptable prohibition undertaking. This has exactly the same legal effect as a restraining order made by the court, and will usually include an appendix identifying the improper conduct of the director. The consequences of failing to comply with a Disqualification Commitment are the same as those for failing to comply with a Disqualification Order.
- If someone contravenes a disqualification order or their disqualification undertaking, they can commit a criminal offense and can go to jail for up to two years or face a fine or both. Anyone with information suggesting that a disqualified person has acted in violation of this provision should contact the Insolvency Service Administrators Disqualification Unit on 028 90 548582.
- The disqualification period begins at the end of 21 days from the day the disqualification commitment was accepted by the ministry.
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